Monday 29 September 2014


 A visit to a local volunteer's home brought excitement to her whole family; mother and father, 16 year old twin sisters, 14 year old brother, 12 year old brother and 9 month old sister. We were invited to sit in the formal room, usually kept behind shutters free from dust and smoke, used only for guests. The lamp shade was still in it plastic wrapping, the furniture matched the ornaments and the room glowed gold. First came the juice in decorated wine glasses, then mint tea, biscuits, sweet wafers and after that fresh crisp apples. We were questioned and photographed and the baby crawled around in excitement as she had never been inside this room before. The girls told of life at school, of learning English and of a trip to London. They told us of the risks they have taken to get to Jerusalem – borrowing friends' blue ID cards, wrecking their nerves for a trip to the mosque. It is almost impossible to keep away from talking of the occupation, even when laughing and joking with children. The girls were keen to demonstrate their local dance Dabke. In their pajamas they jumped and turned, sang and counted, lost their breath and bowed. In the privacy of their own home, they were not wearing hijabs, and photos were not permitted. Here is a picture of a local Abu Dis team doing the same dance.

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